A local Citizens Advice Bureau has seen a shocking rise in the number of people it has referred to foodbanks.
During the course of 2012/13, Grangemouth and Bo’ness CAB made a total of two referrals to food banks. Over the course of 2013-14 this grew to 56 referrals - an astonishing increase of 2700 per cent.
The frightening facts and figures were contained in the CAB’s annual report.
CAB manager Bill Palombo said: “Welfare benefit enquiries now represent 50 per cent of all enquiries. If I could find one statistic that best sums up the effect it is having it would be referring 56 people for food parcels in 2013/14 compared to two referrals in 2012/13.”
Councillor Adrian Mahoney, who serves on the Grangemouth and Bo’ness CAB management committee, was full of praise for the staff and volunteers’ efforts, but also concerned by the rise in foodbank referrals.
He said: “The CAB has assisted thousands of people over the last year and staff and volunteers can take pride in having helped generate more than £1.8 million in additional income through benefit checks and form filling.
“However, it’s sad many enquiries were the result of government welfare reform changes and the CAB had to refer more people to foodbanks.”
Over the 2013-14 period Falkirk Council provided £96,703 of core funding to the CAB.
Tom Lambie, CAB chairman, said: “The level of service is entirely dependent on the number and quality of staff, both paid and volunteer.
Thanks go to Falkirk Council who recognised this need and as a result provided the funding required to maintain this service.”